Remember that time I promised to learn to love being outside of my comfort zone? That was a big bite and as an all but pro eater (mostly of chocolate) I have to say, this one's hard to swallow. But in this journey I've been exploring the idea of leading a breakout session on an upcoming women's retreat. So you know me, I'm nothing if not diligent. I've taken to the books to explore what people in my age range that are trying to live a glorifying life need to hear... we need to hear a lot. But along the way, I'm reading some great challenges to myself.
So here I am working my way through some Jen Hatmaker (who I love for her sarcastic, self-mockery) and I find something I can't NOT share with you in case it turns out you're a little like me (and I'm a lot like Jen). In John 21 Jesus is asking Peter - hey Peter, do you love me? He asks him 3 times and of course Peter's all 'duh, of course I do - you're Jesus!' But then Jesus follows it up with a 'Ok, so you love me right? Feed my sheep'. (Note: that's the Becca version of the wording but you get my point, right? Right.)
This is why I love Jen. She writes that as she read this she's like 'Great, I've got this. I'm leading bible studies, writing them, etc - I'm feeding his sheep'. That was me. I work for a church now. I'm leading a bible study. I'm mentoring, guiding, facebook posting, blog writing, etc. I'm busy feeding sheep right? And then Jen writes this...
And from the depths of heaven this is what I heard: 'You do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of my sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are my youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around. If you truly love Me, you will feed my lambs. My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you're blessing blessed people and dreaming about your next house'. (Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted)
Not seeing yourself in that statement? Well, let me give you the Becca version. I am bogged down in fixing my friends first world problems while there are people REALLY in need of my service all over. Not just in Haiti where I lent a hand building a church or in Togo (West Africa) where I helped build an aquaponics center to ACTUALLY feed some lambs (kids) but here. In Tampa. In my community. In my neighborhood (probably not the Maserati neighbors, huh?) There are hungry lambs all up in this city and I'm busy counseling friends on what to wear on dates or how to get their tubs truly clean.
I don't want a new house but that doesn't mean I'm not always hungry for new, bigger, brighter. I could probably have sent a dozen kids to school in another country for what I spent on purses in my two years of working at Coach but the truth is - I was totally lusting over Louis Vuittons and Burberrys' even then. We've all got our 'stuff'. I wouldn't mind trading my Corolla in for a Range Rover (black on black, please?).
Jen hits the nail on the head when she says we're devoted but often misguided. I am passionate. I am dedicated. And I love to get my hands dirty. But sometimes I'm full throttle devoted but I'm completely off base. Anyone else hearing that?
Here's a little shocking confession for you. I am a social media phenom. I post with zeal but I rarely and I do mean RARELY ever read what people post. I go to twitter to post in the mornings from my quiet time and I hit the home key so I can skip all the stuff people have posted since my last log in and just say what I want to say. If they don't @ me, I just skip on by. But I sat down last weekend and started reading. I was curious what people were saying, what they were doing - what does a weekend look like in twitter world? You want to know what I found? If twitter is any indication this is what people are passionate about: TV (this is probably #1), food, pets, and working out.
Are these the burning passions of my generation? Really?
Someone recently stated how appalled they were that I don't have cable on my TV. They launched into everything I was missing out on (as if I've gone amish by not having Entertainment TV). I listened and I tried to look interested. I even nodded appropriately. When they were finished I said: 'I guess I can't imagine myself looking back on my life and saying: Gosh, I wish I'd watched more TV'.
But that's it, right? We're not seeing the big picture. That at the end of our lives when people stand up at our funerals we don't actually want them to say 'Becca was great. She took the best care of her pet hamster of anyone I know and she could spout off facts about every reality star on TV... she even worked out every single day'. That's not who we want to be. But somewhere in the bustle of life we lose focus on the big picture. We don't realize that how we're spending our time IS our lives. This IS who we are. And while I'm busily fixing first world problems via text message by 9am - I'm missing opportunity after opportunity to meet real needs. To feed His sheep.
I want to break here and say, I don't think any of these things in and of themselves are bad. I'm not anti TV, even though I don't have cable. I love fashion and shopping. And I text with people about mundane things and I wouldn't trade those friendships either. I love to workout and working out helped me lose 70 pounds and feel better than ever. I'm not anti pets or reality TV and I sure as heck love food. So don't hear me wrong on that. You have to take care of yourself and it's ok to enjoy things other than feeding the homeless and building churches in 3rd world countries by all means. What am saying is be aware of what you place in which position in your life. My hobby can be shopping but it's not my passion. It's not my mission. And it's not getting the best part of me.
I'm breaking my own norm here and I'm not going to give you the answers to the problem because I'm just not realizing I know my own problems. But I offer this up for thought today because after attending a funeral of an amazing man of God recently I'm more aware than ever that we don't know how long our lives will be. I don't know how long the Lord will let me hangout here on earth but while I'm here I want to feed His sheep. Now, to figure out what that looks like...